Instructables

Concrete Lamps

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Picture of Concrete Lamps
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My fifth instructable, this one presenting some work from a few years back.

A few years ago i made 4 lamps using concrete, as presents. I wanted to investigate the process of casting at the scale of the object.

I designed the forms on Rhino, lasercut the formwork from thin styrene sheets (1mm), used a hot glue gun to rapidly tack it all together, hold the formwork in place and plug any leaks. I then cast the voids, and combined the resultant concrete work with custom metalwork, papercraft and other lasercut elements to create these 4 lamps.

As prototypes these pieces were never going to turn out perfect, but the process of creating them has taught me a lot about working with concrete at such an intricate scale.

During production parts broke, and i realised that i would need mesh reinforcement for some of the more delicate pieces such as the long stalks of the Mushrooms, or the thin leaf structure of the Top Heavy lamp.

Happy to answer any questions.

You can see more of my work over at Terra Politica
shankster3162 months ago
where are the instrucions for this project. is thiz not instructables?
scarr561 year ago
Terrapol,

You posted, "if you trust following some sketches/simple 3D diagrams in the place of photos i'd be happy to recreate the process for some of the lamps step by step. " I would like to see your description of how you created the mushroom lamps and the wall sconces. Please include a list of the tools and materials you used. Your work is innovative and inspiring!

Thank you for sharing.
Arghus1 year ago
you got skills to pay the bills man..
Peale1 year ago
This is one of the few times I'm posting negative sounding comments about an Instructable. And, it's not because of the work, because those lamps are beautiful!

No, rather it's because of the lack of detail on how they were made. I don't want to duplicate this work, but I do want to know how to work with the forms that you made, how you filled the forms with the concrete (and didn't have any air pockets), did you put the wiring directly in the concrete, itself, so there would be no visible wires?

I'm hoping that you flesh this out, and include the step-by-step process. I'm really, /really/ interested in this, but I'm having trouble making heads or tails.
terrapol (author)  Peale1 year ago
OK, i seem to have missed the point of this site somewhat.

I'll be honest and admit that i put these projects here to see initially if there was any interest in them. I originally made them just for fun whilst i was learning a little about the materials and I didnt really know what to expect here.

I see people would like some more information and i just regret that i didnt take any photos whilst i was making these (I make a lot of stuff that doesnt always turn out nice and its a lazy habit i think this website has taught me to reconsider!). The photos i've posted are pretty much all i have of these pieces because they were made a little while back.

But i think i know a compromise - the process of making these lamps is pretty simple with the right tools- if you trust following some sketches/simple 3D diagrams in the place of photos i'd be happy to recreate the process for some of the lamps step by step.

I wont put up exact templates of these designs for a few reasons, partly because they were one-offs and i dont have the original 3d files to hand, but partly because i think the interesting thing about this work is not so much the form (anyone can make a pretty shape) but its the process and the possibilities of working like this that i find interesting.

To be honest i'm amazed at the amount of people interested in this - its only a small part of my work/interests and i never really gave it second thought till i dug these photos out of my hd, so i'd be happy to oblige you all with some further information.

You're going to get a lot more response because Instructables featured this page in their weekly e-mail newsletter.

Actually, I'm more interested in the lamp shades. They appear to be custom made as well. What are the materials?

Best wishes.
Yes, it's rather a tease to click on what you think is going to be an 'ible and it is not. At all. I don't understand either why this got to the newsletter level.
Very nice.
You might want to consider using either hypertufa or papercrete. Significantly lighter, and a great deal of control on final texture.
duncan_a1 year ago
You mentioned needing to use mesh in future - would the tube for the cable passing through the centre not provide enough support if it was steel?

Matbe you were referring to the concrete flaking?

Come on - give us a step by step instructable...
. . . er, awesome! Let me know when you make an Instructable about this, would've loved to see how to make forms for these concrete shapes!
danzo3211 year ago
Remarkable shapes. Graceful and fun. But I have no idea how you turned whimsical ideas into styrene sheets. In concrete work one would not place those clear plastic discs in the form, they weaken the concrete too much. You would use wire to keep the vertical rebar in place.
Plaster applied to the outside of the styrene form would give enough strength to cast concrete and allow for adequate vibration. I dip fiberglass mat in plaster for huge strength for nickels (very low cost that is.)
fretted1 year ago
Cool Lamps great looking

if i may i have a question

Are you using standard form concrete or a supplement like Rockite ? i make latex mold from freeform structures and pour concrete yard ornaments from them {bunny rabbit , frogs } and the like for peoples gardens did you make the forms of laser cut paper as well ? and at any point did you have to hand form some aspects of the objects

I've been experimenting with different forms of plaster of paris and different types of strength bearing concrete its surprising how flimsy some forms of concrete are and how strong some types of plaster of paris can hold up ...
terrapol (author)  fretted1 year ago
I used cement (ciment fondue) and a fine grain silver sand that i got from a sculptors shop because i wanted to try and get as smooth a mixture as possible and get the most detail out of the forms. I think i mixed them in almost 1:1 - to about 2.5/3 parts water.

The formwork was laser cut styrene, 1mm thick. If you can imagine each face of the concrete forms being a styrene piece with no tabs, glued into shape along the seam of each join with a hot glue gun - thats how i made the mould.

Sometimes i propped the moulds with some foamboard offcuts, especially for the larger shapes. Working with a hot glue gun was great for speed and flexibility.

I chose styrene because from earlier experience with plaster i know you get a glassy shine when you cast against plastic and that was the look i was going for.

What you see is pretty much straight out of the mould - unfortunately the materials i used to make them meant that the moulds were only good for 1 cast, i had to rip them apart to get the pieces out but since these pieces were one off's i didnt really worry about that.

About plaster of paris - i used to cast a lot with plaster and ciment fondue, you get a really creamy grey concrete effect and beautiful detail - lovely combination
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